KASD Policy & Curriculum Committee: Kutztown School District committee discusses new gifted instructor

The proposal of a new position for Kutztown High School’s Gifted Student program dominated the policy/curriculum meeting Jan. 27.

Matthew Link of Student Services presented a job description for a new instructor to provide gifted students with advanced learning and enrichment activities.

Observing parents expressed their concern over the position’s current state.

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“We have now gone through five teachers of the gifted at the Middle School,” said Mikal Wilcoxson. “At this point, I don’t see this musical chair act stopping, at least while my kids are still in school.”

“We are aware of the issues that have happened in the past, but it is hard to be definite about things right now,” said Link. “Certain requirements are established by the state. It is out of our hands.”

“I personally have enormous faith in our staff to bring in a gifted teacher that will cover things as broadly as possible,” said school board member Alan Darion.

“It is all a matter of finding the best match,” said Superintendent Katherine Metrick. “We are hoping that [the new instructor] will provide a more permanent solution this time.”

Discussions later arose over the current state of the High School’s excused absence policy. Board members initially found themselves torn on how to currently handle legally-excused absences from students.

“I think students should be given the opportunity to make up work and still be successful,” said school board member Caecilia Holt.

Issues mainly surrounded ways in which students could get around the system and manipulate it in their favor.

“My only issue is the kids who miss tests,” said Darion. “Those kids who miss the test for one or even two days may have an advantage. They would have more time to go over the content, or to even get answers from their classmates.”

The matter remains a pending policy issue.

Board Secretary, Rikki Devough introduced an email request from Cedar Crest College asking for permission to advertise itself during winter sporting events. In turn, the College would pay the school district $1,000. The board unanimously agreed to allow advertising slots, expressing collective interest in the numerous benefits it would provide students and staff.

“I like the idea of being paid to tell students about college,” said school board member, Eric Johnson.